Thursday 22 August 2019

Irish Rail €4m CCTV cameras upgrade a step forward

Tom Barry during his tenure as Canada Life’s chief executive
Tom Barry during his tenure as Canada Life’s chief executive

Irish Rail has taken flak for a sense among the public that security has deteriorated on its Dart and Dublin commuter services. It is now seeking to invest €4m on security cameras to tackle the problem, Ergo has learned.

While generally the system is quite safe compared to some other cities, at specific times there can be drug and alcohol-fuelled problems so properly targeted investment in passenger security is to be welcomed.

But it's hard to avoid the feeling that the latest move is a reactive one by a semi-state company feeling a little stung by negative publicity, not least comparisons to security systems already in place on competing transport options such as the Luas.

Irish Rail might argue that its services complement rather than compete with the Luas and maybe that is the case from a passenger point of view. But in a very real sense Irish Rail has long competed with the Luas - for the eye of transport ministers and the shockingly low levels of capital funding they are prepared to spend on public transport.

Take, as an example of where the train company lost out, the prioritisation of Luas extensions and an airport metro ahead of a fundamental and arguably more impactful redesign of the existing Dart system.

Perception matters in these things. If voters prefer fancier-looking trams and metros to old-fashioned trains serving stations in which they sometimes feel unsafe then that is what the politicians will give them, even if engineers and transport planners disagree. The new cameras will be a small but good step forward.

Ex-Canada Life boss Barry to chair New Ireland

Canada Life's former chief executive Tom Barry has been appointed the new chairman of Bank of Ireland's actuarial and assurance business New Ireland. Canada Life is owned by Great West Life Assurance Company, which acquired Irish Life for $1.7bn in 2013.

Ergo notes that Barry's appointment comes after Pat Healy announced his retirement after nine years in the role.

Barry has extensive non-executive director experience coupled with being a former president of the Irish Insurance Federation.

"On behalf of New Ireland, my thanks to Pat for his guidance and leadership through a period of significant change for the company," said managing director Michael Murphy.

"I welcome Tom to the new role and wish him every success, and also wish Pat well in the future."

Sunday Indo Business

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